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Prep 5 mins
Cook 12 mins
Serve this cheese on warm french bread or crackers or..... Use whole milk, you may use full-fat or low-fat buttermilk. The ingredient sifter did not like "whole".
- Cut out three pieces of cheesecloth into 12-inch squares.
- Line a colander or medium strainer with all three layers of cheesecloth.
- Set colander in sink.
- Combine milk, buttermilk, salt, lemon zest and thyme in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat, stirring often until mixture has separated into white curds and translucent whey, about 8 minutes.
- If using lowfat buttermilk, separation occurs at about 180 degrees F and the curds will clump together readily.
- If using whole buttermilk, separation occurs closer to the boiling point, about 212 degrees F, and the curds are finer-grained.
- When using whole buttermilk, let curds and whey stand off heat for about 3 minutes after separation, so the curds cling together-this way you won't loose tiny curds through the cheesecloth.
- Ladle the contents of the saucepan into the prepared colander.
- Let the whey drain, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Lift the four corners of the cheesecloth and gather them together.
- Gently twist the gathered cloth over the cheese and press out any excess whey. Do not squeeze to tightly or you will end up with a grainy cheese.
- Cheese can be unwrapped immediately and served warm, or let stand until cooled to room temperature, about 10 minutes more.
- To serve a firmer cheese, transfer cheese, in its cloth, to a small flat-bottomed dish or pie plate; refrigerate until cool, about 10 minutes.
- Unwrap cheese and gently invert onto plate; discard cloth.
- Tent cheese with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated up to 2 days.
- Remove from refrigerator and let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.
- You can omit the lemon and thyme and opt for cracked black pepper, or fresh rosemary, or red pepper flakes, lemon zest and dill -- whatever fresh herbs you like.
- You can also reduce salt to 1/2 teaspoon, adding 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, depending on how sweet you want your cheese.